Infographics

Consultation objectives

Every year, Statistics Canada and other departments and agencies collect data from numerous surveys. As the amount of data gathered increases, Statistics Canada and others have introduced infographics to help Canadians understand key information derived from the data.

In October 2017, Statistics Canada conducted usability testing of infographics in order to obtain feedback from users. This round of usability testing also included infographics produced by the Canadian Space Agency.

Consultation methodology

Statistics Canada conducted in-person usability consultations. Participants were asked to complete a series of tasks and to provide feedback on the selected infographics.

How to get involved

This consultation is now closed.

Individuals who wish to obtain more information or to take part in a consultation may contact Statistics Canada by sending an email to statcan.consultations-consultations.statcan@canada.ca.

Please note that Statistics Canada selects participants for each consultation to ensure feedback is sought from a representative sample of the target population for the study. Not all applicants will be asked to participate in a given consultation.

Statistics Canada is committed to respecting the privacy of consultation participants. All personal information created, held or collected by the agency is protected by the Privacy Act. For more information on Statistics Canada's privacy policies, please consult the Privacy notice.

Results

What worked

All the participants were enthusiastic about the use of infographics to communicate data. They underscored such things as layout, use of colour, images and graphs as key elements of an appealing presentation. 

Each of the six infographics reviewed was perceived as clear in its message and, on average, informative as well as esthetically pleasing. Most participants successfully located the information they were tasked to find on each infographic.

Areas for improvement

  • Graphs featured in infographics must be easy to read and their layout relatively familiar to users (e.g., line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts).  When graphs presented too much information or had less familiar layout, participants struggled to interpret them or expressed doubt concerning the meaning of the content.
  • Infographic designs should take into account ease of use and legibility across different mediums, such as mobile devices. Participants had difficulty reading some features because of their size or low contrasting colours when viewing the infographic on a full-size computer monitor.
  • Labels should be clear and consistent, and acronyms should be avoided. Seemingly basic every day acronyms may be unfamiliar to some users. When information in one section referred to information in another, the slightest change in terminology caused participants to doubt their interpretation.

Recommendations

  • Have a clear purpose for the infographic. Readers should be able to read the infographic as a coherent whole, and not struggle to understand its storyline or purpose, or the link between the different facts presented in the infographic.
  • Keep text to a minimum, following a less-is-more approach as much as possible. People expect to view infographics rather than read them in detail.
  • Use the infographics visual elements to enhance the data being presented.
  • Lay out information in the infographic according to the priority of that information. For example, place the most important points first according to a left-to-right and top-to-bottom ordering, particularly when sections of data build upon each other.

Statistics Canada thanks the participants of this consultation. Their insights guide the agency's web development and ensure that the final products meet users' expectations.

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